Yes yes I know CD Project Red are doing the Cyberpunk 2077 and while it looks cool and cinematic it does not scratch my itch. Isometric RPGs are just ballers man, the focus isn't action per say but strategy and special abilities you get to choose when you level up, and awesome quests that can be solved in different ways, or not at all! While I realize that Obsidian making an isometric cyberpunk game in the wake of CD P.R.'s game is low I just so hope they will because the whole gameplay and take on it would be different.
Ok, wall of text incoming.
I think it would be a solid way for Obsidian to take in between, I dare say, Deadfire and the third game in the series. Because it would be a clean slate where they get to apply the knowledge gained, and I think shown in the refined gameplay and other features of Deadfire, but to a whole different setting from anything close to fantasy, with new requirements and new possibilities.
Think about all the cool stuff it could mean!
They could make an expansive megacity using the Deadfire ship mechanism where you can drive your hover car between locations that you can enter and load that map. Later when you get the cash you can purchase a flying vehicle that can go in a straight line and perhaps allow you to land in the same locations of course, but also maybe previously not accessible ones, but you could land on them at new spots. For example at the top of a skyscraper instead of driving to its street, thus giving you a different way to infiltrate the building. There could also be car chases with a different kind of combat from the ship one in Deadfire, but using the same base principle.
Information would play a more important role because of the high tech, but also preferably very dark, setting. Not only with how you find out about quests but also how you should target them. Perhaps you hear about some important energy cells or whatever made by some high profile company. You could hack the hover truck's GPS and intercept them in transit something like the car chase mentioned above. Or perhaps you can look up the company's driver employees and just accidentally happen to run into them at a bar or whatever before the date of transaction and social engineer information on the weak spot of the loading/unloading of the energy cells, which would require a passive or active skill check or some such. If you haven't heard about the term social engineering look up "Kevin Mitnick social engineering", or just think of it as Deadfire Insight/Bluff.
Further uses of information would be being able to get the blueprint layout of a corp. executive's mansion or hack the security cameras for a live feed of the guards whereabouts. Something I loved about the original Thief games, like Thief 2 for example, was that you got a blueprint drawing of the building you were to thief your way in to before the mission, and you got to load out your guy with the info you had at hand. So for a game such as this you would have your stash in your vehicle and can only load up on stuff for every quest/mission according to your strength stat or something. Preferably hacking wouldn't be like 1 stat or 1 skill but split into different kinds of hacking. So hacking for blueprints or information would be different from hacking live communication channels. Or something like you have to get the proper deciphering code out of several ones used in the world, so deciphering codes would be highly sought after in the underworld. Maybe the targets realize they've been hacked and goes over to a different encryption code that you may or may not have acquired. Do you postpone your mission or do you take your chances and load up on lots of fire power to make up for the information you don't have?
Character level up progression and making your character would define the gameplay, as it does for Pillars as you know. But I think for a cyberpunk game it would make for a different set of mechanisms. At level up you get to choose new class specific abilities and upgrades, provided you have the resource required. But some abilities make you more or perhaps less vulnerable to specific attacks. One ability could be that you augment two or all of your companions with connected communication so that they can share skill checks at a distance, a distance allowed for by the upgrade points. This could be handy when infiltrating a building with your most stealthy companion, but need high skill checks for specific points. But there would be a vulnerability here that can be abused by your enemies in fights where they can hack you in combat, similar to a low Will defense number in Pillars. So more abilities makes you stronger and more all-round for both outside of and in combat, but also more vulnerable to hacking from enemies that specialize in that kind of abuse. Furthermore, perhaps this connected communication upgrade just mentioned, perhaps every skill check used during the mission, at the same high tech place, increases the chances that the security system made up of guards and other measures, gets wise and realize they're under attack, and changes their routes or start to go actively looking for you.
Combat in Deadfire I think is great and I don't think there's a way to be revolutionary in the real-time-with-pause system. But the parallels wouldn't be 1 to 1 of course. Area of effect damage would be different kinds of shotguns, grenades, napalm or maybe flamethrowers, shockwave weapons etc. Stuns could be taser guns, EMP weapons etc etc. I know lots of people love the Ranger class in RPGs and there would of course be an equivalent in this game where you get a quadrocopter or a walking robot, or even an augmented real bulldog that can take a hit. Wizards don't really have a place in this type of world I think but Pillars Ciphers most certainly do, they would be more of the combat hacker type character. Then there would be more brutish type characters that can carry a huge minigun with lots of sustained damage but low accuracy, grenade launcher, or perhaps loaded for frontline melee combat similar to a Barbarian with a carnage range. Rogue type characters would be agile operatives specializing in one-target damage with abilities more or less directly translated such as the given backstab, invisible-camouflage stuff, hobble attacks etc etc. So combat itself would be quite familiar but again the abilities you acquire perhaps even more defines your playstyle with your strengths and weaknesses from the abilities you've chosen.
A challenge I think with a cyberpunk game is that you can't use all kinds of different beasts to have a large variety of enemy types. But I think it's not all that important to have a visual difference on everything. You can do some stuff that is more or less unique for every encounter. Partly what composition of classes your enemies have and the types of attacks they prefer, their special tactics etc, perhaps they have unique abilities as a group something like Tyranny had for 2 party members. And you can also make all kinds of different robots with unique attributes. Furthermore you can have fringe cases where some people have augmented themselves to no longer be counted as human. They can be self-sustaining but now deranged and live in the darkest corners of forgotten parts of the city, immune to most cyber hack technologies.
For this type of game I think Obsidian, because of course I want them to make it, should choose to have a max 3 or 4 hero party, but more emphasis on using different companions for different missions, now that you can gather some information about the mission before you chose your lineup, but of course you don't have the complete story at the beginning, and for some missions you have no idea what you're up against. Some targets make it a principle to not be connected to the outside world to be as secure as possible. Anyways, the companions you're not currently using acquire levels themselves something similar to the Pillars Caed Nua missions but I'm thinking you level them up when you hire them for a job by providing them the resources required for certain upgrade abilities. As you hire companions for every job you have to share the bounty credits on the score, because their lives do not start and end with you and your in game avatar, and their cut would be influenced by how much resources you spend on their level up in between missions. So if you want you can spend all your credits and resources on yourself, soloing the game throughout or make like you and 1 other companion as strong as possible but also less dynamic in how you tackle the quests. Romance-wise you can only romance red light district courtesan robots OK?
As you can tell I can go on and on about this and if you've read this far I would like to thank you for it.
What are your thoughts about a cyberpunk game in between Deadfire and a Pillars 3?
Regards / beatspores
I initially made this post in reddit/r/projecteternity but it hit me maybe I should post it here.